Chronique Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (MS), a term preferred by most patients as stated by Prof. Maureen R. Hanson of Cornell University in an interview with Creapharma in 2016, as this term shows the symptoms of pain and abnormal brain function experienced by most victims of the disease. We talk about CFS when fatigue lasts more than 6 months.

According to a study published in February 2015 in the journal Sciences Advances, the CFS is a biological disease and not a psychological disease. It is possible to identify this disease through markers (including cytokines) in the blood.
The researchers tested the levels of 51 markers of the immune system in the plasma of 298 patients and 348 healthy people. They found that the blood of patients with the disease for three years or less had higher levels of molecules called cytokines. On the other hand, the blood of patients who had contracted the disease for more than three years did not have this level of cytokines. “The link seems unusually strong with a cytokine called ‘interferon gamma’, linked to fatigue that follows many viral infections,” according to the study.

According to Columbia University, up to 90% of people with CFS also suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.


In the United States, 1 to 4 million people suffer from CFS, a little over 1% of the population if we take the figure of 4 million. A study published in 2015 by the National Academy of Medicine estimates that 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans suffer from CFS.

American women are 2 to 4 times more affected than men, we do not know why there is such a difference between men and women.

In the United States, it is estimated that 90% of people with CFS are undiagnosed.

Appearance of the disease by age group
The disease appears mainly in 2 age groups: adolescents aged 15 to 20 years and adults aged 30 to 35 years.

Duration of illness
The disease lasts most of the time for decades.
The teacher. Jose Montoya of Stanford University (California), a leading SFC specialist, noted in a press release from his university in July 2017 that some patients can be cured (remission) in the early years, but rarely if the disease persists for more than 5 years.


The causes are not clearly known and the treatments are not specific.

– The microbiome (intestinal flora) could be a partial cause of CFS. According to a study by Columbia University, CFS may be associated with an imbalance of the microbiome. US scientists have noted that levels of some intestinal bacteria – Faecalibacterium, Roseburia, Dorea, Coprococcus, Clostridium, Ruminococcus and Coprobacillus – were strongly associated with CFS. This study was published online in the scientific journal Microbiome on April 26, 2017.
Read more under Symptoms below

– Some experts believe that chronic fatigue syndrome could be caused by viruses, stress, immune system problems or hormonal disorders. Some people think that this syndrome would come from different factors.

– Cushing’s syndrome can cause a chronic fatigue syndrome. Cushing’s syndrome is an uncommon condition characterized by excessive production of the hormone cortisol. This overproduction originates from a benign tumor located on the adrenal gland.

-Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease affecting mostly women. A 2016 US Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation and Harris Interactive survey, which included almost 3,000 patients with 96% women, found that 80% of patients with Sjögren’s syndrome also suffered from fatigue. chronic almost every week or more frequently. Approximately half of Sjögren’s syndrome patients with severe dry eye (present in 53% of patients with Sjögren’s syndrome in the survey mentioned above) had severe chronic fatigue.

SFC at the cellular level
A study published in 2017 showed that changes in brain chemistry – observed on microRNA (or miRNA) levels – were observed 24 hours after cycling on a exercise bike for 25 minutes in patients suffering from cancer. SFC. The micro-RNAs have the particular function of turning on or off the production of proteins in the cells. This study, conducted in particular by the Georgetown University Medical Center, was published on November 10, 2017 in the scientific journal Scientific Reports (DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-017-15383-9). The microRNAs could act as a signature of the disease.

Risk factors

Some risk factors are:

  • age, it is known that people in their forties or fifties are more affected by this syndromele
  • gender, the disease is more common in women than in men
  • stress, suffering from stress increases the risk


Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by extreme fatigue (exhaustion), headaches (of a new type, different than usual), difficulty concentrating and muscle pain.
The patient may sometimes experience gastrointestinal symptoms. Researchers at Cornell University have successfully identified biological markers of CFS in intestinal bacteria. The intestinal bacterial composition, or microbiome, of participants with chronic fatigue syndrome (FSS) was different compared to the participants in the healthy study. Scientists have observed a decrease in the number of bacterial species. This study was published on June 23, 2016 in the journal Microbiome.

Other symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome include short-term memory loss and memory problems, sore throat, increased volume of lymphatic nodules, joint pain without inflammatory signs, sleep that is not repairer or a state of exhaustion that lasts more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise.

It must be known that the symptoms may vary from one individual to another.


Sources & References:
Microbiome, Scientific Reports (DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-017-15383-9).

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Informations sur la rédaction de cet article et la date de la dernière modification: 12.02.2018